It is hard to love the high, cold plains of the American West. They are vast and harsh and demanding. And perhaps because they are so hard to love, prairies challenge the imaginative mind and the adventurous heart. The Wide Open reveals how some of the most interesting and accomplished writers and photographers in the country have met that challenge and given the genius of the prairie a vision and a voice. Their stories are as diverse as the tellers, ranging from fiction by Barry Lopez, Richard Ford, and William Kittredge, to the childhood histories of Mary Clearman Blew and Judy Blunt and the nonfiction narratives of Jim Harrison, Gretel Ehrlich, and Rick Bass. There are works by Native American prairie dwellers such as M. L. Smoker and James Welch and the photographic interpretations of Lee Friedlander, Lois Conner, and Geoffrey James. Personal or poetic, journalistic or scientific, these works eloquently attest to the prairie's abundance in all its human and natural variety, offering pictures as wide open and rich as the land they depict.